Scarification germination process

Lucerne tree seeds are naturally very hard-shelled seeds and require a process called scarification to encourage germination.  Up till now we have only soaked the seeds, but to encourage much better germination results, we now recommend you nick or cut the edge of each seed before soaking.

We nick (cut) the edge of the seed with a clipper or sharp blade and then soak the seeds in hot tap water overnight to weaken the hard seed coat of the seed to encourage germination.

Watch a video on how to nick the seed coat ~


Here are our updated germination instructions ~

Only start the germination process when you are ready to plant your seeds into seed trays or potting bags.  Work with batches of  + 100 seeds at a time.

  1. Nick the edge of each seed with a nail clipper or sharp blade. Only cut off the edge of the seed coat and do not cut into the seed itself. Do not cut the the white germ edge.
  2. Soak the cut seeds in a bowl filled with hot tap water overnight.
  3. Plant out the swollen seeds the next day in seed trays or potting bags filled with coarse river sand.  Do NOT use potting soil.
  4. Use a stick & make rows roughly 5mm (0.5cm) deep and place the seeds in these rows & cover lightly with sand.  Seeds planted too deep do not germinate easily!
  5. Water lightly regularly & do not to let the soil dry out.
  6. Seeds usually germinate within 15 days.
  7. Wait at least 40 days for maximum germination before potting out seedlings into individual 1-litre potting bags. Use a mix of coarse sand and potting soil.
  8. Dig deep under the seedlings to loosen the soil and gently lift each seedling out of the potting soil. Do not pull the seedlings up from the tray as this will damage the roots.
  9. Wait till these potted trees are at least 40cm tall with pencil-thick stems before planting them out in your lands. This can take about 4 months.
  10. Keep watering the remaining germination sand because the slower seeds may still germinate!

Download these germination instructions ~ Germination Instructions 2018

Life is in the seed!


Video ~ Cows grazing lucerne trees

Here are our Black Angus cattle thoroughly enjoying their lucerne trees, with its nutritious food grazed directly off the trees.

Chipped lucerne trees for milk cows


We hand-milk our jersey milk cow for our homestead dairy milk.  IMG-20160730-WA0008

Because my daughter and I are “hands-on” preparing the cow’s food for her milking session, we have monitored that when we give her chipped lucerne tree feed mixed with some crushed mealies and a scoop of molasses, her milk production increases. IMG-20160730-WA0012

Chipped lucerne trees provide excellent protein and fibre. IMG-20160730-WA0011

We mostly give her fresh, wet chipped food,which smells delicious — almost like candyfloss!

Sometimes the chipped food ferments in the bags, providing nutrient-rich, fermented kuilvoer or silage.

We also lay out the chippings on a tarpaulin to dry and store.  This method allows us to store chipped lucerne tree food in bags for the weeks when we are not pruning or chipping fresh lucerne tree branches.

At night, when we bring our cow in to the milk shed, we give her a generous helping of chipped food to supplement her grazing. We have the loveliest, rich, creamy milk which I use to make our butter, yoghurt, cream cheese and feta cheese.IMG-20160730-WA0010

Lucerne trees are an essential part of our homesteading.  They form the basis of our year-round food.

Have you ordered your seeds for this spring season?



Chipped lucerne trees is added value!

We regularly chip our lucerne trees for exceptional fibre-rich, nutritious year-round food!

Chipped lucerne treesPlease pop over to our new page Chipped Food for all our lucerne tree chipping information:

Read more on ~

  • How to chip
  • What chipper we use
  • How to store your chipped food
  • Recipe for chipped feed mix for finishing or animals in milk
  • Advantages of chipping lucerne trees
  • Tonnage food per tree pruned and chipped

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Cow and calf enjoy lucerne trees

20160303_140203Our cows and calves have been grazing in our lucerne tree camps for several weeks are still enjoying good food!


New Facebook Page

Please like our new Lucerne Tree Farm Facebook page so that you will not miss out on our posts, photos or comments.

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Drought & Heat ~ Lucerne Trees Bring Relief

The value of lucerne trees is that they keep your animals in good condition.

As the dry, hot summer burn the veld and grasses, and as grazing becomes more limited, our camped lucerne trees are a blessing and relief.

20160303_140753 Our Angus cattle spend the first few days eating the grasses and then move on to browse the lucerne trees. 20160303_140130Lucerne trees provide nitrogen-fixing in the soils which enhance the grasses growth, as well as providing shade and wind protection to keep soil moisture up after rains or irrigation.  20160303_140159While normal lucerne fields are our “food bank” where we cut, bale and store lucerne, the lucerne trees are an indispensable part of our grazing rotations.  20160303_140826It is never too late to start planting lucerne trees!